Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday in the Classroom

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki

In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born
They start the day right in the bright early morn
When the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mt. Zorn
and lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn.
And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays:
“Wake up! For today is your Day of all Days!”

— Happy Birthday to You! (Dr. Seuss)

Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Seuss Geisel, was born on March 2, 1904. While he is no longer with us, Dr. Seuss’s legacy lives on in the pages of his whimsical, unforgettable books. From Horton Hears a Who to The Cat in the Hat to The Lorax, Dr. Seuss revolutionized the way children’s books were written and continues to inspire generations.

Source: photosforclass.com (Creative Commons)So this month, celebrate in your homeschool or classroom by reading Dr. Seuss’s amazing books and taking advantage of Curriki’s Seussian Collection of creative, fun activities. Oh, the places you’ll go!

First, the Educational Stuff …


First … Read as many Dr. Seuss books as you can during March!


  • Dr. Seuss Math Printables – Nothing makes math as much fun as Dr. Seuss, even for math haters!
  • Green Eggs and …Economics? – Economic concepts are often found in places students have never considered, like children’s literature. In this lesson, students will explore the various economic concepts addressed in five of Dr. Seuss’ most popular books: The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; The Lorax; Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Horton Hears a Who! This lesson assumes the students already have some knowledge of basic microeconomic concepts. Therefore, it would be best utilized as a review or unit summary to reinforce the concepts you have already covered.


If I Ran the Zoo – Economics and Literature – Welcome to the Zoo! In this two-day lesson, you will use Dr. Seuss’ If I Ran the Zoo book to introduce the economic concepts to your students. You will also get the chance to use actual zoo criteria to help a zoo “choose” new animals.

Just for Fun (with some learning snuck in)


(Source: Seussville.com)

Here are some other fun suggestions:

Got any other great ideas? Please share!

Photo of Janet PintoJanet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience, and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.

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Promote Worldwide Reading on International Literacy Day

Literacy Day posyterBy Lani deGuia, Guest Blogger and Curriki Member

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the world can’t read?

It’s true – the World Literacy Foundation says close to 20% of the world’s population is illiterate. Literacy skills are essential for lifelong learning, and can help elevate global education and progress for the future.

On Sept. 8, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. The day will be marked by a two-day conference in Paris on Sept. 8 and 9 where experts in the field, private business, learners, and educators will meet to discuss the progress of promoting literacy as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

But worldwide, schools, communities, and organizations are also encouraged to help spread awareness and increase accessibility to education in developing nations.

How can you help?

There are many opportunities for teachers, homeschoolers, parents and students to get involved in promoting literacy.

Put Up a Poster – UNESCO provides a downloadable poster to celebrate the 50th anniversary and spread awareness around your classroom and school.

Join the Campaign – The World Literacy Foundation is hosting a 2016 International Literacy Day campaign themed “The Sky’s The Limit”  If you register your school by Sept. 7, the Foundation will provide materials to help your school run a school community fundraising campaign toward global literacy.

BooksPromote Literacy Within your Classroom and School – Start the movement for strengthening reading and writing skills by participating literacy activities right in your classroom and school.  Here are some ideas from the Curriki community: http://www.curriki.org/oer/Kindergarten-Literacy-Centers/)

  • Do your students need a reference card for themselves or posted in the classroom?  Here’s a Reading Strategies Poster that covers the eight reading strategies and offers phrase starters to get students started on creating meaning from text.
  • Karen Fasimpaur offers collections of fiction and nonfiction decodable reading passages for early readers that include PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and interactive Voicethreads for students to record themselves reading.
  • Anna Batchelder offers this collection on Literacy Resources for Early Childhood Educators filled with reading lists, early readers suggestions, and activities reading comprehension.
  • ReadWriteThink offers ideas for your class to celebrate International Literacy Day, including a class read-a-thon, creating a cross-grade reading buddy program, or making original books to share with community members.
  • Wonderopolis can help get students start thinking about literacy with activities on the different ways to read and exploring why we read from left to right.
  • Literacy Tips for Parents offers strategies for parents and families to promote a literate household.
  • Teach Kindergarten or early primary grades?  Here are ideas for creating literacy centers in your classroom .

How do you plan on celebrating International Literacy Day?

Share your ideas! Don’t forget to follow along on social media (#LiteracyDay and #50ILD) with your students and children to find out the latest on events and activities!


Lani deGuia is a Norfolk, VA-based Educational Consultant with experience writing and developing curriculum and managing school technology.

Research and Instructional Resources for Teaching English Language Learners

By Guest Blogger Lani deGuia

As the population of students who are English Language Learners (ELL) continues to rise in the United States, teachers of both English as a Second Language (ESL) programs and general education are in need of resources that can support instruction. These students are unable to communicate and learn effectively in English. National policies are enforcing the need to teach ELL students basic proficiencies in learning the English language while at the same time meeting academic standards. Because standardization of curriculum and limited access to ESL programs and support are leaving many of these students mainstreamed, it is becoming more critical for all teachers to be prepared for minimizing learning disparities. The following is a compilation of research and resources for supporting English language learners from K-12 and adults to help them gain proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

The Newly Arrived ESL/ELL Student

It may be difficult to know where to start for a newly arrived ESL/ELL student. Beginning ESL-Secondary (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL–Newly-Arrived/) offers supporting resources and instructional units for when the communication and learning disparity may be at its greatest.

English Language Literacy and Skills

Grammar and structure provides the fundamentals for language acquisition. Whether you are an ESL teacher or general education teacher, you may be in need of instructional resources to help meet a literacy gap for understanding or applying your content. Althabasca University (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Athabasca-University-ESL-Course/) provides a full ESL course curriculum that includes thirteen units of instruction on sentences, structure, form, purpose, reasoning, and more. If you want to increase your students’ ability to recognize commonly used English words, here is a collection of Dolch sight word lists (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Sight-Word-Lists/) for classroom and home use. Are your students having trouble conjugating verbs? Kent Uchiyama compiled a comprehensive reference, English Verb Tenses, specifically for ESL students (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Verb-Tense-Book/).

Listening and Speaking is essential ELL student success. Donna Price of San Diego Community College provides a list of Game-Like Activities to Practice ESL Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Games/) and Jane C. Miller from the Colorado Department of Education offers Listening and Speaking Instructional Activities (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Instructional-Activity-Packet/) Collection of activities for teaching listening and speaking to ESL adult learners.

If your students need extra assistance with pronunciation, check out Pronunciation Practice (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Pronunciation-Practice/) Games, activities, suggestions, and word lists for improving pronunciation. Teaching Pronunciation to Adult English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Teaching-Pronunciation-to-Adult-ELLs/) gives an overview, instructional strategies, and checklists for improving pronunciation for adult ESL students. Teaching Pronunciation (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Teaching-Pronunciation/) provides research and instructional strategies for teaching pronunciation for ESL students using the Prosody Pyramid. Specific American English Pronunciation Challenges for ELL’s : How to Meet These Challenges (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Pronunciation-Challenges/) is a reference guide for research, theory, strategies, and challenges in pronunciation for English language learners that includes specific challenges for specific first languages.

Are your students ready for conversation? Conversation Questions and Activities to Aid in the Learning of English by Prof. Mark McDowell, M.A (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Listening-and-Speaking-Free-Talk-Handbook/) is a handbook of listening/speaking free talk activities and questions.

Writing effectively can be one of the biggest challenges for English language learners. ESL Writing Resources (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Writing-Reources/) provides a collection of resources to teaching writing to ESL students including newspaper activities, a review of common student errors, and worksheets. Teaching English as a Second Language: Chapter Twelve Teaching Students How to Write (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL–Teaching-Students-How-to-Write/) is a slide presentation that includes strategies for ESL teachers to use for writing instruction.

Cross-curricular ties to other content areas is a great way to engage ELL students. EL Civics ESL Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/EL-CIVICS-for-ESL-STUDENTS/) offers a collection of worksheets to teach civics to ESL students including cloze activities, short stories, crossword puzzles and more that can enhance social studies instruction.

ESL Worksheets, Downloads, and Printables

ELL students may need routine and repeated practice to acquire literacy skills in grammar and writing. The following sites offer a variety of student worksheets and activities to supplement instruction.

Learn English Feel Good ESL Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Learn-English-Feel-Good-ESL-Worksheets/) Collection of worksheets on writing skills, parts of speech, and assessments for advanced and native speakers

ESL Kids Stuff (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Lesson-Plans-for-ESL-Kids-Teachers/) Collection of lesson plans for ESL teachers that also includes flashcards, activities, and crafts

ESL Printables (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Printables/) Resource exchange for ESL worksheets, lessons, activities, and more

Using English: ESL Teacher Handouts (http://www.curriki.org/oer/ESL-Teacher-Handouts/) Collection of teacher printables, handouts, and worksheets on grammar

U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (http://www.curriki.org/oer/US-Department-of-Education–The-Office-of-English-Language-Acquisition/) Resources for both parents and students for English language learning.

Grammar Practice Worksheets (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Grammar-Practice-Worksheets/) Grammar worksheets from ESL Library

Instructional Technology

Looking for a mobile app or technology tool to increase learning with ELL students? ELevate Success offers a list of iPad Apps for English Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Elevate-Success–iPad-Apps-for-ELs/). This directory of iPad apps can be used for ELL and ESL instruction for K-12 and adult learners.

Apps for English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Apps-for-ELLs/) provides a list of technology tools (including iPad and SMART technology) based on Common Core and ISTE Standards.

Research and Theory

On a final note, understanding the ESL/ELL learner and language instruction will provide the greatest benefit for instruction regardless of what subject area you teach. Whether you have one ELL student or an entire classroom, being knowledgeable of research-based instruction will empower you with effective strategies. Here are several guides and research-based articles on effective approaches to helping children and adults improve their English language proficiency.

Krashens Second Language Acquisition Theory and The Teaching of Edited American English


Supporting English Language Learners: A Practical Guide


Implementing Effective Instruction for English Language Learners (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Implementing-Effective-Instruction-for-ELLs/)

Equity Matters: From English Language Learners to Emergent Bilinguals (http://www.curriki.org/oer/From-ELLs-to-Emergent-Bilinguals/)

Assessment of English Language Learners: The Bridge to Educational Equity (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Assessment-of-English-Language-Learners–The-Bridge-to-Educational-Equity/)

Visual Aids in the ESL Classroom (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Visual-Aids-in-the-ESL-Classroom/) Collection of articles and research on effective use of media, audio, and visual elements for ESL learners

Sheltered Instruction: Best Practices for ELLs in the Mainstream (http://www.curriki.org/oer/Sheltered-Instruction–Best-Practices-for-ELLs-in-the-Mainstream/)